Learn more about the all new Linx 8900.
System uptime is the average length of time a piece of equipment runs between interventions are required to keep it operating smoothly. When comparing system uptime when assessing coding equipment, it is important to look at several factors including:
To understand system uptime better, let’s take a closer look at each of these key areas:
Consumable replenishment is the most common and necessary interaction with any given piece of coding equipment. The amount of time a system can go between consumable replenishment, like adding more ink to an inkjet coder, replacing ribbon stock in a thermal transfer printer, or replacing labeling stock on a labeler largely depends on the capacity of the individual piece of coding equipment. There are additional factors to consider when assessing consumable replenishment.
For inkjet coders, it is important to understand how long a printer can run after the bottle or cartridge of ink has run out of fluids. Does the system provide an advanced notice warning giving a countdown to when the coder will be truly empty? Does it provide enough of a warning that allows for fluids to be replenished at ideal production times like before and after shift changes? Can the fluids be replaced while the system is actively coding?
For thermal transfer printers, ribbon capacity as well as total ribbon usage are important to maximizing the length of time between replacing ribbon stock. For ribbon capacity, look at the maximum size of the ribbon roll for your chosen ribbon type. To maximize ribbon usage, look for thermal transfer printers that offer ribbon saving features that utilize as much surface area of the ribbon before advancing it for ribbon waste collection.
Although replenish consumables is unavoidable for the most common types of coding equipment, the very act of replacing or replenishing a bottle of ink or solvent, a roll of ribbon, or a roll of label stock can be made easier and less time consuming for system operators.
Inkjet coders tend to be the easiest type of coding equipment when it comes to consumable replenishment since most inkjet coders can keep running while being refilled. Look for inkjet coders that offer mess free, mistake free refill options like needle and septum systems that prevent leakage and dripping when swapping fluid bottles. This is ideal compared to inkjet coders that require fluid bottles to be manually poured into the system. Another factor to consider is how many touches or actions are required to complete the fluid refill process. Look for systems that provide one-touch fluid refill options as well as variations in shapes and sizes between ink and solvent bottles to simplify the process as much as possible while preventing the wrong fluids from going in the wrong compartments.
Due to the nature of thermal transfer printing, the printer will become temporarily unavailable for coding while ribbon stock needs to be replaced. Look for thermal transfer printers that have an easy-to-web design as well as easy to remove and replace ribbon cassettes. Investing in an additional ribbon cassette that can be loaded and ready to go when ribbon is low minimizes downtime on thermal transfer printers as much as possible.
Like thermal transfer printers, automated labelers also become temporarily available for use when label stock needs to be replaced. Look for an automated labeling system that has an easy label webbing design to make it easy to unload spent stock and load a fresh roll. Manufacturers with high production commands benefit from having alternate labeling machines available. When one machine signals that its label stock is low, the other starts applying labels so that the low system can be replaced. This virtually eliminates downtime with automated labelers.
Although consumable replenishment is required more frequently than maintenance, preventive maintenance procedures take more time to complete and often require the coding equipment to be completely unavailable for printing while being serviced. Not all coding systems are created equal. Service intervals are usually stated in the amount of system hours that can pass before preventive maintenance is required. Things like ink type, manufacturing environment, and overall wear and tear caused by the application can impact recommended system intervals.
For inkjet coders, look for systems that can run as long as a year or more before maintenance is required. Better yet, look for systems that provide advanced warnings about upcoming maintenance so that you can schedule interventions around your production schedule. Another factor to consider is how easy or complicated it is to perform maintenance. Look for systems that have self-contained service modules that can be easily swapped out without the need for a service engineer. Systems that have screen-guided instructions for service interventions tend to be the easiest to use.
For thermal transfer printers, take a look at preventive maintenance requirements that are recommended by the manufacturer. How many parts require replacement? How long does the manufacturer state it will take to perform maintenance? How easy is it to access parts that need to be replaced? These are all important questions to ask when evaluating thermal transfer printers.
When it comes to automated labeling systems, all-electric systems allow you to replace wear parts while relying on pre-programmed settings to get the labeler operating as quickly as possible. Pneumatically operated labeling systems require extensive adjustments after replacing wear parts, making maintenance interventions anything but fast. Also look for labeling systems that offer screen-guided instructions for quick and simple service interventions. Another advantage of all-electric labeling systems over pneumatic is that electric options allow for a gentler application of the label to the substrate. This cuts down on overall wear and tear, allowing the system to go for longer between maintenance intervals.
If you have any questions about how to calculate the uptime of your current coding equipment compared to new coding equipment technology, we are here to help. Contact a Diagraph product identification expert today by calling 1.800.722.1125 or contacting us through our website.
Pharmaceutical manufacturer upgrades their laser coders from 30W to 60W to increase the throughput to meet production demand for COVID-19 vaccine.
A major manufacturer of pharmaceuticals produces medicines and now COVID-19 vaccines on high-speed lines. Because this customer had 20 years’ experience with Linx printers, they didn’t hesitate when they needed to upgrade their laser coders to increase throughput to meet demand.
The customer codes four lines of human readable code onto paper labels which are then applied to ampoules running at a rate of 400 items per minute. The laser codes while the line is static, and the static coding time is 300 fps. The lines run two shifts a day, five days a week.
On another line, the customer codes four lines of human readable code plus a data matrix code onto carton boxes. The production line speed is 131 feet per minute and 250 cartons are coded every minute. These lines run for two shifts a day, five days a week.
The Linx CSL60 laser coder is a 60W, CO2 scribing laser coder that offers reliable coding for faster and more demanding operations enabling the customer to increase capacity. The flexibility of the coder means that the customer can have the right combination of tube and lens for their application. This level of tailoring means that the laser tube is always running at an optimum rate, which extends the laser tube life beyond other suppliers, and also extends the time between service intervals. As a result, the customer will enjoy less downtime and a lower cost of ownership.
# # #
As a key component in our Diagraph Solution Center model, the Diagraph Uptime Advantage focuses on delivering more uptime through our products with minimal intervention requirements. We believe that our coding and labeling solutions should be the least of your worries. This is why our equipment solutions are built to withstand the toughest of manufacturing environments and consistently produce high quality marks – print after print after print.
Our product solution portfolio is built around the principles of reliability and ease of use:
Whether you need entry-level thermal inkjet, high speed continuous inkjet, or high resolution, large format printing, we have a wide variety of inkjet coding solutions that are designed to be low maintenance, user friendly, and offer superior longevity.
Because the most common cause of issues with pressure sensitive automated labeling technology is linked back to pneumatic plant air, we have fully embraced an all-electric automated labeling platform that is designed with servo-controlled label dispensing technology and smart sensing controls to achieve precise label placement at high speeds. You get all of the performance without any of the hassle.
Diagraph’s thermal transfer printing solutions offer not only the highest resolution mark on web- and foil-based product packaging, but also the widest print area range, offering ideal solutions for printing simple product codes all the way to complex messages like ingredient panels and ingredient lists.
Using CO2 and fiber lasers, we can offer an eco-friendly and consumable free option to create permanent traceability codes on packaged goods. Laser coding is an excellent low maintenance option for manufacturers that are implementing anti-counterfeit measures or need a discrete code.
At Diagraph, we will help you formulate the ideal coding and labeling solution for your unique manufacturing environment, code durability requirements, and staff capabilities. This is just one of the many ways we partner with customers to deliver tangible value throughout a long-term relationship. How much time and money can you save by taking a new approach to your coding and labeling operations? Let’s find out together.
Learn more about the other three components of the Diagraph Solution Center:
ST. LOUIS, (Sept. 1, 2015) – Diagraph recently launched the Linx 8900 – a next generation CIJ (continuous ink jet) printer featuring an error-free user interface and smart productivity reporting functionality. The printer is designed to maximize efficiencies during production, delivering valuable cost and time savings.
Capable of printing both human and machine-readable codes, the Linx 8900 incorporates a wealth of new features and reporting functions that speed up day-to-day operation and maintenance. Production monitoring is made easy with a unique screen saver mode that provides manufacturers with a simple visual status check, indicating whether throughput is on target or not.
This is part of a range of reporting features that provide at-a-glance real-time data, which also includes downtime information and batch counts. The Linx 8900 self-monitoring productivity reports can be easily transferred to a USB for archival and analysis purposes. The smart productivity reporting functionality allows operators and plant managers to identify patterns or reasons for any line stoppages, allowing for the quick implementation of changes, solutions or countermeasures to improve efficiency and productivity.
In addition to the productivity reporting functionality, the new system’s self-service module is designed for engineer-free service and minimized downtime, allowing operators to change filters and ink in one quick step with the help of the on-screen Self-Service Wizard to guide operators through the process. The easy and quick self-service functionality allows maintenance managers to schedule service times around production schedules, causing no need to take the printer off-line.
These smart reporting features and minimized service and maintenance requirements combine with Linx’s industry-leading sealed printhead to allow the Linx 8900 to perform reliably in even the harshest factory conditions. Linx’s proven autoflush system thoroughly cleans the printhead every time the printer is shut down, ensuring a fast and clean start-up when it is next required. The automated cleaning feature enables the Linx 8900 to be cleaned and ready for immediate use even after three months out of operation, making it ideal for periods of extended shutdowns.
The Linx 8900 is designed to be simple to use and maintain, minimize operator errors and identify opportunities to improve production line efficiency in real-time. For more information, call 800-722-1125.
About Diagraph, An ITW Company
Diagraph, An ITW Company is a leading manufacturer and distributor of marking, coding and labeling systems and supplies, and has been in the product identification industry for over 120 years. Diagraph’s products include all-electric printer applicator labeling systems, LINX continuous ink jet and laser coders, large character ink jet printing systems and thermal transfer overprinting systems.
About Linx Printing Technologies Ltd
Linx Printing Technologies is a leading global supplier of continuous ink jet (CIJ) printers, case coders, laser coders, thermal transfer printers and thermal inkjet printers. Its printers and coders are used across many different industries where product identification codes, batch numbers, dates and barcodes are required.
All Linx products are designed with low cost of ownership in mind and are distinguished by reliability, robustness and ease of use. Linx products code and mark millions of items every day, ranging from bottles, packages and cans of consumer goods to pharmaceutical products, cabling, electrical components and car parts.
Marking and coding equipment should help contract packagers improve productivity. Diagraph accomplishes this by keeping equipment intervention requirements for our product identification equipment to a minimum.
Diagraph’s coding and labeling equipment runs cleaner for longer between required interventions and withstands wear and tear, increasing its useful life. This leads to greater equipment uptime and a stronger return on investment over the life of Diagraph equipment.
The number of steps required for routine interventions as well as the length of time between those interventions is minimized. Product capabilities like automatic printhead cleanings help keep inkjet coders operating with optimal print quality for longer. Examining consumable replenishment practices and centralizing ink refills or providing a quick turn label stock webbing approach makes required interventions quicker and hassle-free.
Finally, quality materials and thoughtful engineering matter when it comes to the longevity of your equipment. Diagraph’s focus on impact resistant designs – whether it be an inkjet coder or a labeler – ensures long-term product reliability.
After making sure your product coding equipment is properly matched to your application and contract packaging environment, it is essential to make sure your line operators and maintenance staff know how to properly handle and maintain your equipment.
Diagraph’s equipment is designed to have fewer touchpoints to enable hassle-free installation, training and maintenance. These easy access touchpoints minimize the amount of time required and eliminate the need to access the entire system to perform maintenance or changeovers.
Because contract packagers regularly deal with worker turnover challenges, routine training to keep workers knowledgeable and able to be good stewards of your equipment is critical. We offer refresher-level training opportunities with each scheduled service visit from a Diagraph field service engineer. In addition, in-depth training is offered on location or at the Diagraph training facility in St. Charles, Missouri.
Our most successful customers partner with us to regularly evaluate and maintain their coding and labeling equipment. We perform routine equipment assessments, provide regularly scheduled service and develop long-term equipment upgrade plans.
Equipment is kept running longer and the need for unplanned interventions is reduced by staying ahead of wear-caused failures and by properly maintaining equipment. As with all things electro-mechanical, equipment performance will eventually impact production throughputs. We help you navigate the useful life of your equipment to determine when to repair and maintain a system and when to upgrade and benefit from performance and feature enhancements.
By working closely together, our account teams can help you develop a multi-year plan that provides measurable cost savings opportunities due to system efficiency gains and consumable usage optimization. These strategic audits also help customers strategically sequence system upgrades of their older technologies to avoid the sticker shock created if your product identification equipment fails at the same time.
Our goal is to always to make it easy for our customers to make the perfect mark. Find the right product for your application by completing this short assessment.
Call us today at 800.722.1125 to learn more about how Diagraph partners with manufacturers to achieve product identification and packaging compliance success.